30 Monster Girls - 04 - Naga Picture

Decided to do another 30 (insert topic here) challenge, this time it's the monster girl challenge, and rather than do one a day I'm taking my time with this one so they'll pop up a bit sporadically.

The Naga (or in the case of the females Nagi) is a sometimes god, sometimes creature of Hidi origin. Like many other Hindi myths it appears to be made entirely of conditionals; i.e "It's always this way, except for when it isn't".

The Naga has many descriptions surrounding their appearance, the simplest being a snake like creature (nearly always a cobra) with human features. In some myths they are described as having a half human body and a snake tail, others they're nearly all snake but with hair, others they are all snake and possess multiple (at times hundreds) of heads. I wonder if perhaps that last description was based on the originator finding a cobra mating ball and thinking it was all one creature. The name Naga also appears to refer to many things from the mythological entity, to normal snakes, to elephants, to an obscure tribe of people.

There appear to be several origins for the Naga, the two I found both begin with them being the offspring of a pair of sisters, (the other of the two births the bird god Garuda) The stories diverge after that; in one they are the result of a bet between two sisters, in which one tries to get her offspring (the then possibly normal snakes or humans) to help her win, when they refuse to help her cheat she sentences them to be sacrificed by fire. The king of snakes became aware of their suffering and through a proposal of marriage between his own sister and an ascetic ensured the birth of a "celestial child" to go forth and save the snakes, which he did.

In another variation, the snakes become bitter enemies of their cousin Garuda and help their mother win the bet with her sister, allowing them to keep Garuda as a slave, allowing him to go free only after he brings them the elixir of immortality, which he does but tricks them so they are unable to drink it. However a few drops are spilled on the grass which the snakes lick up causing them to cut their tongues, making them forked.

The Naga now are regarded as nature spirits and guardians of the gods, they carry with them the elixir of immortality to protect it, they are only seen as being malevolent towards humans if they are disrespectful or wicked to them or the forces of nature. Naga are also very curious and will disguise themselves as humans from time to time. In one such story a young Nagi (the story I found says she was 8 ) hears a holy man preaching about the sutras; she disguises herself as a human man so she may join them and reaches full enlightenment within moments of doing so.

Bonus story:
In college I took a world mythology class, in it we were divided into groups (mine was called cosmic egg) In said group we had a girl who was from India and when we got to the section on Indian mythology I apologized in advance to her if I messed up her culture's mythology. She asked me why I thought I might and I told her I'd found it difficult to understand since part of the story, character traits, and origins, seemed to change in some parts or contradict others. She laughed and told me that she could see why I might find it difficult but that it might be easier to understand that in the mythos everyone is Brahma so sometimes their stories intermingle. Without even thinking I bust out all exasperated "You can't use GOD as an excuse for bad story telling!" After a moment of silence where I feared I may have seriously offended her, she burst out laughing and hugged me, saying that was the funniest reaction to something like that she'd ever seen.


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